We are each of us in a process of becoming, with all that that entails however painful or uncertain. Leaving aside the seemingly paradoxical alternative of quantum mechanics, for the most part we cannot be in two places at the same time. And so coming to terms with what we’ve left behind becomes the essential act in understanding why we are where we are and in trying to chart our future course.
So far, so obvious. But these are fast moving times and in our near perpetual interaction, picking out what is significant is a struggle historians of the future will burden them- selves trying to understand. That is to say, only as the light of a particular period begins to fade can we start to unravel any of its broader significance. In the meantime, all we can do is our best, knowing that tomorrow hindsight will judge what we did today.
Love, loss and doubt remain human constants and however attractive the digital perception of ourselves as fun-loving, empowered consumers may be, it can’t shake the very analogue reality of blood and bone human beings, our search for acceptance and a meaningful frame of reference. ‘Content is king!’ they say, well good for them – but in the hailstorm of information, creating and recreating oneself is just as difficult as it’s always been.
When I was a kid, my dad used to tell me a poem, always the same one. It seemed impossibly mysterious as a child, but as I grew up it took on real significance and whenever the world threatened to close in, the words would come to me. When I left home, ten years ago now, the poem came with me and its been with me ever since along the sometimes bumpy journey of growing up and becoming a man. I discovered some years ago that it was in fact one approximately remembered stanza of a much longer poem called ‘The Gardens of Proserpine’ by Algernon Charles Swinburne.
As a whole the poem is beautiful, telling the story of Persephone and her garden of ever flowering poppies, but for me the stanza as I learnt it from my dad remains elemental:
From love of too much living
From hope and fear set free
We thank with brief thanksgiving
Whatever gods may be
That no man lives forever
That dead men rise up never
And even the weariest river
Winds somewhere safe to sea.
Deep love and thanks to my family, friends and fellow musicians for all your support over the last few years. Special thanks to Max Jones who gave me the confidence to make this record and whose dedication to living life beautifully is a constant inspiration.
This album is dedicated to Alice Bayer, mit Liebe, and to Richard Church, out there somewhere, guitar in hand, showing us how its done.
Here’s to what we’ll become.
– Jamie Doe, Autumn 2014